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UPDATED with more info from court records: Johnson City man charged by FBI in child pornography case, Wilson Avenue home raided Tuesday

Becky Campbell • Updated May 8, 2018 at 8:47 PM

Federal agents seized numerous computers and a rifle from a Wilson Avenue residence Tuesday morning while investigating an internet child pornography case.

According to a document filed in U.S. District Court in Greeneville Tuesday, Nathan Alexander Kirkland, 908 Wilson Ave., was named in a two-count complaint that was filed before noon Tuesday. He was charged with knowingly receiving child pornography by computer and knowingly possessing material that contained an image of child pornography.

At Kirkland’s arraignment Tuesday afternoon, Magistrate Cliff Corker appointed the Federal Public Defender’s Office to handle the case. The attorney in court asked Corker to redact Kirkland’s address from the complaint, which had already been filed publicly.

Corker granted the motion. On the federal court document access website, the original complaint with Kirkland’s address was no longer available, but it was re-filed with the address redacted.

When agents served the search warrant at Kirkland’s residence, he agreed to be interviewed and “confessed to downloading child pornography utilizing the Emule peer-to-peer network on his personal computer. During an initial forensic review of the content of Kirkland’s personal computer, images consistent with child pornography were observed,” the court record said.

At the scene Tuesday morning, more than a dozen federal agents walked in and out of the residence, carrying various items — including several desktop computers and laptops — from the house. Two young men and a female were by the road as the search continued.

The investigation began in late November 2017 when an officer with the Knoxville Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force conducted an undercover computer session using a peer-to-peer file sharing program. According to the federal filing, the enhanced version of the program allows single-source downloads and has an embedded mechanism that logs traffic between the undercover agent and the targeted computer.

That investigator identified a specific computer’s internet protocol, or IP, address as a “potential download candidate for files of investigative interest,” court documents stated, and that ultimately led to Kirkland at his Wilson Avenue residence. The investigator connected to the IP address, later determined to be assigned to Kirkland’s computer, and “successfully downloaded three video files from the individual.”

As the investigation progressed, records indicated, the Knoxville investigator connected to the same IP address three more times and during each connection he downloaded videos that records said contained child pornography. There was no indication in court records that the investigator posted or shared videos with the IP address. The transactions originated from the suspected IP address, records show.

The investigator searched the IP address and determined it was assigned to a user through Charter. He submitted the information to a Kingsport Police investigator, who got a subpoena for that IP address information showing it was assigned to Kirkland at the Wilson Avenue address. The information was then handed over to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, which asked the FBI to become involved.

During the undercover operation, the task force investigator received eight videos from the IP address assigned to Kirkland’s computer, court records indicated. All of the videos depicted child pornography involving several different underage females and males who appeared to be juveniles as well as one girl who agents described as being 2 to 4 years old, the records indicated.

Kirkland was ordered held without bond. He has a detention hearing scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

——

Reported earlier:

Federal agents seized numerous computers and a rifle from a Wilson Avenue residence Tuesday morning while investigating an internet child pornography case.

According to a document filed in U.S. District Court in Greeneville Tuesday, Nathan Alexander Kirkland, 908 Wilson Ave., was named in a two-count complaint. He was charged with knowingly receiving child pornography by computer and knowingly possessing material that contained an image of child pornography.

When agents served the search warrant, Kirkland agreed to be interviewed and “confessed to downloading child pornography utilizing the Emule peer-to-peer network on his personal computer,” the court record said.

The investigation began in late November when an officer with the Knoxville Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force conducted an undercover computer session using a peer-to-peer file sharing program. According to the federal filing, the enhanced version of the program allows single source downloads and has an embedded mechanism that logs traffic between the undercover agent and the targeted computer.

That investigator identified a specific computer’s Internet Protocol address, which ultimately led to Kirkland at his Wilson Avenue residence.

During the undercover operation, investigators received eight child pornography videos from Kirkland’s computer. Many of the videos showed obviously underage females participating in sex acts as well some who appeared to be juveniles, court documents stated.

Check back with www.JohnsonCityPress.com for more details as they become available.

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